By joining with three other counties on the cost for aerial photos of the counties, Kosciusko County saves money than if they had it done by themselves.

Assessor Gail Chapman told the county commissioners Tuesday that she received the Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG) pictometry agreement for the 2023-24 flight from MACOG Executive Director James Turnwald.

Pictometry specializes in oblique aerial photography taken from low-flying airplanes.

Once the county signs the agreement and gets it back to MACOG, Chapman said, “They will begin our flight for 2023. They will fly all four counties - our county, Marshall, Wabash and Elkhart are all part of this and we share the expense for it.”

Kosciusko County’s total part for the aerial photography is $67,339. That cost is split in half, with half budgeted for 2023 and the other half for 2024.

Commissioner Cary Groninger made the motion to approve the agreement and said, “I know this is something we’ve been working with MACOG for several years on. It’s drastically reduced cost of this GIS (Geographic Image System) flight for the county.” Pooling the counties together for the pictometry saves money, he said.

“It’s our only tool that we have to accomplish our cyclical reassessment every year, so it’s been a great thing for us,” Chapman stated.

On Wednesday, Chapman said that the county has been with MACOG for a while now so she didn’t have the exact figures on how much the county previously paid for the aerial photos when the county paid for them by itself, but believed it to be about $230,000.

The commissioners unanimously approved the agreement Tuesday.

In other business, the commissioners approved:

• For the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office to apply for a $20,500 Comprehensive Hoosier Highways Injury Reduction grant through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, as requested by Chief Deputy Chris McKeand. They have applied for the grant annually over the last two decades.

“It has the drunk driving patrols, it has the aggressive driving patrols, it has your Click-or-Ticket seatbelt patrols. Also encompasses SAVE, which is your school bus stop-arm patrols that we do. This grant basically provides the funding for the officers to actually be out on the street doing those patrols during the blitz periods,” McKeand said.

The $20,500 is the sheriff’s office’s share of the partnership, which includes Winona Lake, Warsaw and all of the other small towns in the county. If approved, the grant would be available in April.

 • For Health Department Administrator Bob Weaver to use money from the Local Health Maintenance Grant, which comes from the state tobacco tax and which the health department receives annually, to trade in a vehicle. The cost for the new vehicle after the trade-in will be $15,340.

The county council approved the grant budget for 2023, Weaver indicated, and the cost for the trade is in the budget.

He said they’re not adding a vehicle, they’re replacing a 2021 vehicle with 50,000 miles on it. He said he knows it’s not old, and it’s out of warranty, but by next year he is not sure he will be able to trade it with what he’ll have in the budget, but he can do the trade this year.

• A zoning ordinance amendment dealing with accessory structures for agricultural purposes, as presented by Area Plan Director Matt Sandy.

“These are specifically, what I call animal shelters, moveable animal shelters, that you put on fields and may be moved around in those locations because of feeding, because of use, whatever the case may be,” he said.

In the past, if the structures were moved, the owners would have to get a new permit, but that’s not as practical as the intent of the ordinance, Sandy said. “So with this amendment, what we’ve done through this is look at - in agriculturally-zoned districts - shelters that are being used for livestock up to 400 square foot in size, can come up and get one permit. Designate a specific area that those buildings will be relocated in within that district, and we will permit them one time.”

If the structure needs to be replaced, the owner will need to return to the Area Plan Commission and go through the same permitting process again.

“But rather then have them come in and get a permit each time they move them within that field or within a specific zone, it doesn’t make sense, and I think that’s something we’ve seen” as the ordinance has evolved, Sandy said.

The zoning ordinance amendment is less restrictive, he stated.

Commissioner Brad Jackson applauded Sandy for the amendment. “I like any time we can to still accomplish what we need to but making it more user friendly. That’s what it’s all about.”

• All three rezoning requests presented by Sandy. The Area Plan Commission had recommended all three be approved.

Mike Jackson requested to rezone 3.15 acres from agricultural to residential. The property is in Jackson Heights subdivision in Atwood. Jackson said he wanted to build a house on the property at some point.

Randall Jessop requested to rezone 9.4 acres from agricultural to residential to eventually subdivide the parcel. The property is in Van Buren Township, to the south and east of Waubee Lake on Mock Road. Attorney Jack Birch, on behalf of Jessop, agreed to put on the plat that it would not be split into more than two tracts after a neighbor, Esther Hoover, was concerned about multiple homes going into the area.

The last rezoning was for the Noels and was to rezone 2.5 acres from residential to agricultural 2 for livestock purposes The property is along CR 1100N, near Milford.

• An ordinance regarding charges for certain information from the county clerk’s office, as presented by county attorney Ed Ormsby.

The charges for certain election and voter information held by the clerk’s office are: voter reports available to the public on USB thumb drive, $15; print-outs of voter reports available to the public, 2 cents per voter; and election results print-outs, 5 cents per page.

Groninger said those rates seem fair and cover the costs the county has to incur for those.

• For Emergency Management Agency Assistant Director Kip Shuter to become director upon Director Ed Rock’s retirement at 4:30 p.m. March 30, as requested by Rock. A retirement party for Rock was scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon March 30 in the Justice Building.

The next commissioners meeting is 9 a.m. April 11.